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Movie Mom

AFI Salutes Warren Beatty

posted by Nell Minow

The American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Warren Beatty will be broadcast tonight at 9 pm EST on the USA Network. Beatty’s notorious romantic life and political activism has sometimes distracted the media from his achievements as an actor, writer, and director. (Expect some jokes about his appearance in two of the biggest money-losers of all time, the not-as-horrible-as-its-reputation “Ishtar” and the even-worse-than-you-can-imagine Town and Country).

Watch him in the final scenes of his very first film, Splendor in the Grass, a pioneering exploration of sexuality and repression. Beatty and co-stars Natalie Wood and Zohra Lampert are heart wrenching as each must confront the compromises necessary for achieving maturity.

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His most family-friendly performance is in Heaven Can Wait, the remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. It is the sweet romantic comedy about a football player whose soul is mistakenly taken up to heaven by an over-eager angel and who therefore must find a new body to complete his life journey.

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Mature audiences should see the classic (but very violent) Bonnie and Clyde, 70’s thriller The Parallax View, and the historical epic about writer/communist activist Reds .

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  • jestrfyl

    I think he is at his best when he is not playing the hunky romantic lead. I appreciate his self-deprecating humor and how his image and his reality are quite different. I thought “Reds” was a master work and (as you pointed out) “Ishtar” was not as bad as the critics made it seem (actually, I think the critics were reacting more to the studios hard drive to promote the movie). In SPITE of his good looks, I think Beatty is the kind of guy with whom it would be fun to knock around – when he is not being “A Star”.

  • Christian Toto

    Beatty is one of the worst interviews in Hollywood, and through the years he worked at a more leisurely pace than his peers … but when he did step before or behind the camera he sure made it count. Finally caught up with “Bonnie & Clyde” last year (I know, what took me so long) and was struck by how timeless and terrific it was.

  • Hamilton Bacon

    I enjoy watching Warren Beatty in just about anything. He is so versatile, and has done much excellent work. But the one movie i never tire of seeing him in is actually Promise Her Anything, a comedy with Leslie Caron in which he plays this photographer who falls in love with his subject. Great fun, in every way.

  • Warren Sager

    I was getting ready to set my DVR to record the AFI special and it wasn’t on. Anyone know when they are going to show it?

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